Fresh as a cucumber

I’m not thinking of having a party any time soon – no significant events occurring in the family for a while yet! We have a christening and two weddings coming up but we will be attending, not organising the celebrations!!

I was looking through ‘The Happy Housewife’ a wonderful collection of hints, tips, recipes and stories from the writer and broadcaster Ruth Drew. She says there are two kinds of party:

  1. the kind where the guests feel uncomfortable because their hostess is obviously so exhausted by her preparations that she’s beyond enjoying herself
  2. and the kind where, thanks to forethought and advance work she’s as fresh as a cucumber, when the company gathers – all set to share the fun with her guests

Ruth has some helpful hints, some tips to avoid the former and arrive at the latter:

  • consult your wine merchant or grocer
  • work out which dishes can be prepared well in advance
  • modern plastic trays make excellent serving dishes
  • have several clean glass cloths ready to hand in case of spillage
  • provide plenty of paper napkins
  • no party is complete without flowers
  • remember your guests may appear on a pouring wet evening so see there’s a place for wet umbrellas and dripping waterproofs
  • usually a party includes one or two guests who are shy by nature, these are the people whose help should be enlisted
  • another insurance against shyness is to launch arriving guests immediately on a joint endeavour, such as joining a treasure hunt
  • if paper games are to be featured, see that plenty of paper and lots of sharpened pencils are ready
  • if you think games would be fun but lack ideas, it’s a good plan, when inviting your guests to ask them to come prepared to organise their favourite variety
  • a party inevitably means extra demand on lighting and heating
  • guests may want to know the times of last buses and trains, make sure you know these
  • no doubt some of the party will be motor car owners; a little advance consideration and a private word here and there from you may be the means of providing a lift home for someone
  • introductions are important

Each of these ‘tips’ had a following paragraph – but I think you can get the drift of most of them!

These ideas are interesting not for their own sake but the light they throw on how people entertained sixty or seventy years ago!

My featured image is the cover of another old well-used cookery book, this one belonging to my mum!


  1. lynnee8

    The simile ‘fresh as a cucumber’ is quite unusual (isn’t it)? My Greek friend and I were trying to think what simile to use when you want to describe how well you’ve slept. Neither of us could think of ‘slept like a baby’ but my friend said that in the villages the simile was to ‘sleep like animals’ – not sure how that works (any ideas)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      It is! I thought it was so comical! oooh… sleep like a…. I must think! My daughter’s hamster Norris is an amazing sleeper so I guess in our house we’d say sleep like a hamster or sleep like a Norris! I must think about this!


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